Discover the Arts, vol.1: Intro, Visual Art, Music and Dance

Dance is the movement of the human body through time and space – almost always to music. Responding physically to music is an innate part of the human experience, so much so that babies, even before they start to mimic or imitate their parents, will respond physically to music they hear by moving their hands or feet, or rocking their bodies. Young children will almost always respond to music with the freedom and joy of moving their bodies in response to a beat or melody. Physically responding to music, for most people, is natural, easy and fun. Almost every culture has dance in some form – historically many cultures use dance as part of religious or spiritual ceremonies, or use dance as a rite of passage, or for a special segment of society – other cultures may use dance for social or entertainment purposes, or as part of community celebrations and events.  

In the study of fine and performing arts, this course will examine dance in its theatrical "entertainment" forms: classical ballet, modern dance, traditional/world forms, and in musical theatre. This course will explore the history and development of dance genres and styles, the skills of choreographer and dancer, and the difference purposes and intents served by producing and responding to dance.  
In this section there are links to reading selections about the history and development of classical ballet forms and modern dance forms, as well as links to videos, productions and other related materials to assist in discovering the world of dance.

This website has an introduction to forms and styles of dance, a glossary, and facts about the profession.

Classical Styles

This website provides a great introduction to ballet.

This playlist of videos shows the evolution of ballet.

This video shows the foot positions of ballet.

This video demonstrates the arm positions of ballet.

Watch this video to see arm positions and feet positions of ballet together.

What is a day in the life of a ballerina like?

Learn about pointe shoes.

A New York City dancer describes ballet.

Modern and Contemporary Dance

Learn about early pioneers in modern dance on this website.

This TED lecture teaches about the choreography process.

The Alvin Ailey Company, is shown here performing their famous piece on the African American experience, "Revelations."

This performance of "Esplanade" by the Paul Taylor Company is an example of a more contemporary modern dance style.

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